What makes you feel safe?
How important is it for you to feel secure?
What lengths will you go to make sure you and your family stay out of harm’s way?
For one reason or another, all of us harbor some form of fear and insecurity. And, for the most part, our environment plays a huge part of who we are and what we are affected by, both emotionally and physically.
Like the picture above, our lives may sail along with perfect skies above. Then there are the other times when we want to hit the restart button. Darkness looms and all we can see are the lights that shine brightly amongst the shadowy night sky.
Last week, hubby and I took off for San Diego. The community we live in decided it was time to slurry all the pavement in our 41 acre complex. For some, this would just boil down to a minor inconvenience. But for us, this situation turned into a major problem.
At first, we didn’t know what to do. We debated back and forth the pros and cons of the situation. Should we stay and bunker down the hatch? Or should we flee to safer waters? In either the case, we knew that the decision we made, would affect our safety.
Why? Because our family has a physical condition that would make it difficult for us to stay or to travel. In fact, this is the reason why we haven’t traveled anywhere for several years. We have what researchers call MCSD, or Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Disorder.
What is MCSD?
MCSD, or EI (Environmental Illness), is a result from having adverse reactions to things in your environment, such as certain chemicals, foods, perfumes, cleaners, solvents, air pollution, cigarette smoke, pesticides, mold pollen, dust, dander, (or slurry) and the list goes on.
Basically, it can be likened to an allergic reaction with harsh reactions that can affect multiple organ systems, such as respiratory, nervous, cardiovascular, digestive, skin, etc. and therefore can cause numerous symptoms that include asthma, headaches, joint pain, rashes, irritable bowel, mood swings, brain fog and many more.
Are we having fun yet?
Anyway, triggers and symptoms can vary depending on the individual. As an example, someone may eat dairy and later on develop a headache. Or, as in the case with our family, we are affected by perfumes/fragrance, pesticides and petroleum products and our allergic reaction varies from high blood pressure, seizures, heart palpitations, alopecia, depression, nausea, or flu-like symptoms.
And over a period of time, like most allergies, these triggers can grow ever the more sensitive, so that they become very debilitating for those of us that suffer from this condition.
If you suffer from any of the aforementioned, don’t be misled or discouraged. There are two camps on this issue: those who believe that these symptoms are psychosomatic and those who feel that this is real and caused by over-exposure to chemicals in our environment.
I for one am with the second camp because I am living it, along with countless veterans of the 1991 Gulf War and First Responders and others exposed to the World Trade Center toxins. And we are not alone. There are literally thousands around the world who suffer from MCSD.
In our head? I think not.
So what did hubby and I do to keep out of harm’s way?
I had to call ahead and request that the hotel remove all fragrance from the room, including soaps, shampoos and linens and to clean with nothing but hot water and vinegar. Yep, Grandma’s old cleaning recipe really works as a great cleaner and disinfectant. And the Hotel was all over it. They assured us that this was not a problem and would have our room ready upon our arrival.
But…they had forgotten one request. They had forgotten one step that would make or break our stay. What was it? Ozone. They forgot to ozone our room. For those of you that don’t know, ozone is a safe way to neutralize chemicals, odors, molds, etc. from any surface or space. And they forgot. I wanted to cry, but never fear, the manager was near. He gave his word that while we dined, at their expense by the way, they would ozone our room. (Mmm, I can still taste that filet mignon.)
What’s the moral of this story?
It wasn’t perfect. And how could we expect it to be? Our world is far from perfect. But we survived. Perhaps a little sick, but it could’ve been worse. I spent the entire trip sleeping on the floor of the bathroom on a make-shift bed that hubby put together made of several pillows, topped with a comforter and pillow. It was a little like camping out in an RV. An expensive RV, but we survived. And we made it home safe and sound.
So what do you think? Have you ever heard of MCSD? Do you or do you know someone who suffers from any of the symptoms listed above? For the longest time, hubby and I did not make the connection until our doctor diagnosed it. It was truly an “Aha” moment. Perhaps you may suffer from another malady. What are some of the things that you find helps your family keep out of harm’s way and stay safe and sound? Please feel free to share any thoughts or suggestions!
For more information on MCSD, please visit http://www.chemicalsensitivityfoundation.org/index.html.
Thanks everyone for stopping by and for all your encouraging comments!